A 17-year-old boy was arrested in Springfield, Missouri, Friday afternoon following an incident at a local high school in which a firearm was discharged.
Local media reported that just after 11 a.m. at Central High School, the small-caliber gun, which was located in the student’s backpack, accidentally fired when the bag was being passed from one student to another. Apparently, the backpack was dropped from a second floor balcony to the first floor in the school’s cafeteria known as the commons area.
Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident.
It’s not known at this time if the student who owns the backpack is the same person who brought the gun into the school or whether it was handed off during school hours.
It was not believed that the student had ill intentions and once the bag was secured, officials deemed there was no immediate threat to the students. The school was never placed on lock-down.
Three students, two female and one male, were taken into police custody, but later released. The incident remains under investigation and once completed the state prosecutor will determine whether charges will be filed.
After the incident, around noon, parents received an automated telephone message detailing the occurrence. Emails and hard copy letters were also sent to parents. But some students had already contacted their parents before the school’s messages went out, and several parents opted to take their children out of school early.
Nicole Brunette, who picked her child up from school following the incident, told reporters she was shocked to hear the news.
“I used to go to school here and nothing like this has ever happened,” Brunette said. “It’s just kind of scary to think your kid is in a school, you know, anything could’ve happened.”
James Murry’s son, Andrew, attends the school’s “Scholars” program for gifted kids and was in the cafeteria when the shot was fired. Murry said he’s glad the school sent out the automated message because he didn’t want to hear about the incident second hand or on the news. He was relieved to know right away that the kids were safe and secure.
“It could have been a lot worse if he brought the gun in with bad intentions,” Murry told Guns.com. “Who would have stopped him if he started shooting?”
Murry expressed frustration over Gov. Jay Nixon’s recent veto of SB 656, which would have allowed Missouri teachers to undergo Peace Officer Safety Training, essentially making them school resource officers and able to carry concealed guns on school property. Before being vetoed, the bill passed with overwhelming support of 111-28.
“We have many teachers that are gun enthusiasts, hunters, reservists, etc, that I trust to protect my kids, if we give them the tools to do so,” Murry added.
But not everyone was as pleased with the school’s reaction to shots fired.
Edith Johns received a text message from her son, Dakota, informing her of the incident. When she attempted to call the school for additional information, nobody she talked to even knew anything about the shooting.
Johns said communication between staff could have been better.
“You would have figured that, as soon as something like that happened, some type of emergency signal would have went off and classes would have went on lock-down, and everything immediately, as opposed to, ‘Huh?’” Johns said.
But in the end, the parents were just happy that no one was harmed.
“Just glad everybody’s okay,” said Johns.